Sky’s no limit for grandad

Ralph Burns enjoys his sky dive.
Ralph Burns enjoys his sky dive.
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A grandad of four who has fought back from bowel and liver cancer jumped 11,000 feet from a plane to help support others diagnosed with the killer disease.

Ralph Burns, 70, decided to do the sky dive to raise funds for Macmillan, which provided care and support for his late mum Annie and wife Jennifer’s uncle Don, who both lost their lives to cancer.

His family, including Jennifer, his sons Tim and Jonathan, and his four grandchildren, watched him take to the skies in a single engine plane at the Black Knights parachute centre in Cockerham before doing the tandem dive.

Ralph, of Willowcroft Drive, Hambleton, has already raised more than £1,000 towards his £1,500 target through his online Just Giving page and donations from friends and colleagues at C&C builders’ merchants in Garstang.

He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 and then learned it had spread to his liver.

But after two major surgeries at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Blackburn Royal Hospital he is now in remission and returned to his part-time job two months ago.

“I felt a little bit resigned when I was diagnosed because other family members have had cancer,” said Ralph.

“But despite the negative things you sometimes hear about the NHS I can’t praise the staff enough.

“Although I was fortunate and did not need Macmillan myself they were there for my mum and Don.

“I feel like I have been given another life and wanted to give something back - and the support I’ve received has been fantastic.”

Ralph admitted his decision to do a sky dive had raised a few eyebrows.

“My wife was not pleased,” he said.

“As daft as it sounds I felt I wasn’t fit enough to do anything really physical and I thought that dropping out of a plane would not take much energy.

“It was sensational - I didn’t expect it to be so good.

“I thought I might be a little bit scared, but apart from the moment I left the plane it was great all the way down and I had a real buzz for the rest of the day.”

To sponsor Ralph visit or text RSKY70 plus £1, £2 or £5 to 70070.